A Look Behind The Experience - London 2012

1 September 2012 - The MEDAL QUEST team has media credentials, which means we can enter the stadiums at special entrances. It’s all very carefully controlled: security screens our camera bags every time we enter the park, and volunteers check the tags around our necks to enter the stadium, to get to shooting positions, to get around to a new place to work, at every door and gate.

They’re friendly and cheery, and absolutely inflexible about where we can and cannot go. Our MQ stills photographer has different credentials from our video cameramen, for example, and she is not allowed to shoot from the same platforms as they are.

But this morning I decided I’d try out the spectators’ experience, so I took the “tube,” as public transportation is called in London, to the Olympic Park and walked in with everyone else at the regular gates.

The Park is huge, so it was a long stroll, and the wide walkways were packed. I saw young people in red-white-blue “Team GB” funny hats of all kinds, “mums and da’s” with babies in strollers, fans in wheelchairs, people everywhere with flags to wave. I felt surrounded a babble of languages, some I could guess were Greek or French or Arabic, some I couldn’t place at all.  

And everywhere, the cheery crowd control volunteers exhorting the passers-by: “Smile – you can’t get in without a ticket and a smile!”

- Judith Vecchione, for MEDAL QUEST


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